Roots, Causes and Cures of Ethnic Prejudice Within School Systems

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Roots, Causes, and Cures of Prejudice Within School Systems Esteemed school board members, there is much to be said on the topic of prejudice within school systems. Offered to you today for the purpose of consideration and appropriate action are several viewpoints on the subject of prejudice through the lens of social psychology as it relates to your school district. You are charged with initiating purposeful action on the basis that a) Prejudice is a learned social factor which can stunt the education and growth of low status students within school systems (Cohen, 1985,1994, 2004; Steele, 1997; Oakes, 1985, Roper 1985), b) Schools are the primary source for socialization and education of minors, including prejudice formation and …show more content…
Prejudice by definition is an attitude within an individual, generally negative, about members of another group. Previously it was thought that prejudice, like any other commonly held attitude, was an unchangeable part of human nature, akin to morals or reasoned thought. Prejudice appeared as mysterious, inexplicable, and innate as attraction or fundamental character. Social psychologists viewed in-group and out-group identity as static, due to the normative social segregation during the time. Beyond that, prejudice was also viewed by scholars and individuals as a natural part of life. According to author Robert E. Park, an influential sociologist of the time (1928), “A man without prejudice is a man without conviction, and ultimately without character” (p.12). Current research of the social learning view affirms the idea that prejudice is similar to other attitudes, but interjects that since attitudes are acquired they may also be disposed. Often prejudice arises in young people when they mimic the prejudicial views of significant elders in an attempt to be accepted by their perceived in-group. When the attitude is accepted and praised it persists and becomes a part of the young person’s base of knowledge (Towles-Schwen & Fazio, 2003). While this process may seem inevitable and disheartening, often prejudice is only as strong as the culture it exists within. Guimond

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